Monday, March 20, 2006

Kristof's comment is a bit disingenuous

Though unquestionably, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has done more than anyone to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur, today I encountered this installment and I was dumbfounded by one single line which I have highlighted in red and I will show why in blue.

No this is not about our neighborhood, but it is about the erosion of our free press. We the people, must demand consistency and accuracy or we may as well stop reading the paper and watching the news.

COLUMN: The Silence of Bystanders

Sunday, 19 March, 2006
New York Times


I saw a lot of heartbreak on my latest visit to the fringes of Darfur: two orphan boys living under a tree after their family was murdered, a 13-year-old girl shot in the chest and a 6-year-old boy trying desperately not to cry as doctors treated shrapnel wounds to his leg.

But the face of genocide I found most searing belonged to Idris Ismael, a 32-year-old Chadian. Mr. Idris said that a Sudan-sponsored janjaweed militia had attacked his village, Damri, that very morning. He had managed to run away. But his wife, Halima, eight months pregnant, could only hobble. And so she was still in the village, along with their four children, ages 3 to 12.

"The village is surrounded by janjaweed, with civilians inside," Mr. Idris said. "There's no way for people to escape. The janjaweed will kill all the men, women and children, take all our blankets and other property, and then burn our homes. They will kill every last person."

"The janjaweed will rape and kill my family," Mr. Idris added. "And there's nothing I can do."

Elie Wiesel once said, referring to victims of genocide: "Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander." And it's our own silence that I find inexplicable.

In Darfur, we have even less excuse than in past genocides. We have known about this for more than two years, we have photos and eyewitnesses, our president has even described it as genocide, and yet we're still paralyzed. Part of the problem is that President Bush hasn't made it a top priority, but at least he is now showing signs of stirring � and in fact he's done more than most other world leaders, and more than many Democrats. Our failure in Darfur is utterly bipartisan.

Day 113 of the President's Silence
May 3, 2005
, Tuesday
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF (NYT); Editorial Desk
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 25, Column 1, 785 words
DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 785 WORDS -Finally, finally, finally, President Bush is showing a little muscle on the issue of genocide in Darfur. Is the muscle being used to stop the genocide of hundreds of thousands of villagers? No, tragically, it's to stop Congress from taking action.

H. CON. RES. 467
Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
June 24, 2004
Mr. PAYNE (for himself, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mr. WYNN, Ms. LEE, Ms. MAJETTE, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Ms. WATERS, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. NORTON, Mr. SCOTT of Georgia, Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD, Mr. DAVIS of Alabama, Mr. RUSH, Mr. TOWNS, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. OWENS, Mr. RANGEL, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. WATT, Mr. MEEKS of New York, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Ms. WATSON, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. SCOTT of Virginia, Mr. FORD, Ms. KILPATRICK, Mr. TANCREDO, and Mr. BISHOP of Georgia) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations
Declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
3) urges the Bush Administration to call the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan by its rightful name: `genocide';
(4) calls on the Bush Administration to lead an international effort to prevent genocide in Darfur, Sudan;
(5) urges the Bush Administration to seriously consider multilateral or even unilateral intervention to prevent genocide should the United Nations Security Council fail to act;
(6) demands that the Bush Administration impose targeted sanctions, including visa bans and the freezing of assets of the National Congress and affiliated business and individuals directly responsible for the atrocities in Darfur, Sudan

Mr. Bush met recently at the White House with Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, an authentic Sudanese hero, to get advice on Darfur, and he seems engaged � though still not ready to leap into the issue publicly by making a major speech on Darfur, or by welcoming refugees for a photo op at the White House. Alas, Mr. Bush is far more timid than the American people.

A new poll by Zogby International that surveyed 1,000 Americans a few days ago asked about Darfur. Sixty-two percent said that "the United States has a responsibility to help stop the killings in the Darfur region of Sudan"; only 24 percent disagreed.

In response to another question, only 24 percent said that "the U.S. has done enough diplomatically to help end the crisis." In contrast, 59 percent said that more could be done. .....

As you can see, in 2004 a group of U.S. Senators and Congressmen urged the White House to take action in Darfur. But one year later in 2005 Bush still, according to Kristof, never uttered the word Darfur.

Kristof nearly accused the President of stopping Congress from taking action. This daily chiding of Kristof's continued for at least 141 days until Bush publicly mentioned Darfur.

Now, for some inexplicable reason, he has reversed course, praised Bush and chided Democrats. Why?


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